Is Justify a Triple Crown threat? Hold your horses

Anna Jefferson
May 4, 2018

There's the Horse or Horses Who Didn't Race at Two, thus we must hear how nobody has done it since Apollo in 1882. But this reader apparently believed "If it's in the Gazette, it must be true".

Shipping from Europe might be perceived as a problem, except that Mendelssohn shipped to California to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last fall.

How I bet will depend on Mendelssohn's odds and whether there's enough value in the win bet. It was quite simple. No horse has ever won the Derby out of that gate, and only three have finished in the money. Rarely do fillies run in the Derby. That's the biggest storyline heading into the 144th "Run for the Roses" on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

In real time, he says he discerns nearly nothing.

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Mendelssohn crossed the finish line 18-and-a-half lengths ahead of his closest competitor, and horse players would be wise to consider that finish strongly before making a wager. So in two columns I picked a loser to win and a victor to lose.

Pace is likely to play a key role in determining the victor, as it does in most races. If you do it by 5 p.m., I might feature one of your comments in the column that appears in Friday's newspaper.

The Hall of Fame trainer's ability to produce Derby contenders year after year is an enviable feat and why his absence a year ago stood out. The colt swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become racing's first Triple Crown victor in 37 years.

It's often referred to as "The most exciting two minutes in sports".

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Along with the Kentucky Derby, the Longines Kentucky Oaks was founded by Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. and was first competed for on May 19, 1875 when Churchill Downs was known as the Louisville Jockey Club.

"But as I told people about it, they were like, 'Oh yeah, I use them all the time, '" Walden said of Audible, which is owned by Amazon and is the world's largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment. The third rider, Mario Gutierrez, has no mount this year.

From a handicapping perspective, it's hard to determine who holds the best shot to win the storied 1¼ route on the dirt for 3-year-olds. The last long-shot was Animal Kingdom at 20-1 in 2011, but that paled compared to Mine That Bird at 50-1 in 2009 with the toothless jockey Calvin Borel aboard, and Giacomo at 50-1 in 2005. Magnum Moon came through with a winning effort in the Arkansas Derby and also was victorious in another stakes race at Oaklawn Park earlier this year. He returned with a win and a solid second to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby.

With a cacophony of snorts and whinnies and all imaginable equine onomatopoeia, the UAE Derby victor and the lone overseas entry made a loud first appearance Thursday morning on the track where he and 19 other colts will run Saturday in the 144th Kentucky Derby. Justify may very well turn out to be just like Curlin, not quite up to task for the Derby but an eventual Horse of the Year. Getting a good trip is imperative.

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Pletcher, a two-time Derby victor trying to become the first trainer in 20 years to win consecutive Derbies, sends out the aforementioned potent foursome of Audible, Magnum Moon, Noble Indy and Vino Rosso, all winners of major preps in their most recent races.

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